If the Democrats want to make any serious gains, they have to wake up and be honest with themselves about the uphill struggle they face.
The Republicans' screw-ups won't do the work for them. Any competent party would've painted the entire Republican establishment as held hostage to right-wing religious fundamentalists and corporate crooks a long time ago.
Howard Dean is a good first step, but the establishment Democrats undercut him at every turn. They're living in the past, where everybody is expected to be cordial and polite and gentlemanly. They haven't figured out that Republicans stopped playing that game over a decade ago. It also doesn't help that the media is against Howard Dean, too, because he doesn't "play his part" as a Democrat.
He speaks clearly and passionately, not getting caught up in Senator-speak and subtleties. The media can't handle that because Democrats aren't supposed to be like that. They're used to selling a Republican vs Democrat, straight-talker vs. complex-professor show. When the Democrat doesn't play his part, they go nuts because then they have to - GASP - explain things.
So until Democrats overcome these hangups, they'll have a hard time attracting disaffected Republicans. Which is sad, because the Bush Administration has screwed up so badly that it SHOULD be like shooting fish in a barrel.
If the Democratic party could suck it up for a few hours and work together, they could get 60% of any vote easily. Liberals, moderates, and economic conservatives - all of them would easily vote for a Democrat if one were put up that just spoke clearly and didn't look like he was afraid of Republicans.